Juniper Unveils New Security, SDN Offerings For Service Providers

Juniper Networks made a series of announcements Thursday on both the security and software-defined networking fronts, rolling out a new line of SRX security cards for LTE networks, along with a host of new SDN applications aimed at helping mobile operators better provision their services and handle the growing number of smartphones tapping into their networks.

Firstly, Juniper unveiled new line cards for its SRX5600 and 5800 series services gateways it says will allow service providers to better secure and scale their next-generation LTE or 4G networks. According to the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company, the new line cards are meant to tackle the increasing number of mobile devices tapping into LTE networks by supporting up to 100 million concurrent sessions and up to 200 Gbps of firewall throughput.

"That's really important to service providers who are adding smartphone subscribers," said Johnnie Konstantas, director of product marketing for Juniper's Security Business Unit. "Smartphone and data plans are being added at a very rapid clip," Konstantas continued, citing an Ericsson study that projected a 12-fold increase in mobile device data traffic by 2018.

[Related: Juniper: Growing Pains Or Something More? ]

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The new SRX line cards were also developed to be aware of mobile-specific protocols, such as LTE-SCTP, meaning they know to block the growing number of malware attacks that are leveraging or embedded in these industry protocols.

Konstantas also stressed the convenience of mobile operators being able to implement Juniper's new SRX series line cards with minimal system downtime or service disruptions.

"The unique thing about these cards is that we built them so that you could have no downtime in service, software or hardware upgrades," Konstantas said. "So let's say you are a mobile service provider and have our SRX services in play. You get these new cards, you plug them in and they just work. Literally in a matter of milliseconds you see that you have more performance available to you ... and you didn’t require any distribution in the service."

Juniper's new line cards are compatible with current cards and chassis, meaning existing customers can use the same SRX 500 series chassis they have in place but leverage these new cards for an instant boost in performance.

For Juniper partners, Konstantas said, this presents an opportunity to both target new customers and re-visit existing ones with the cards.

"Any reseller that already sells Junipers products and has sold some of these firewalls can go back to any existing customer and say, 'Here are cards that can not only be popped in to give you more performance, but they're compatible with the cards you already have,'" Konstantas said. "It's a very easy upgrade path from a reseller perspective."

NEXT: Juniper's SDN Lineup

Meanwhile, Juniper unveiled Thursday new services and solutions intended to cement the broader SDN strategy it laid out at its Global Partner Conference last month.

Among the new lineup is Junos Space Services Activation Director, an application that allows mobile operators to centrally manage services, including multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) and carrier Ethernet. According to Juniper, the new Activation Director slashes service providers' overall costs by streamlining deployment, along with network management and analytics.

Juniper also announced its Mobile Control Gateway (MCG) network management solution for 2G, 3G and LTE networks is now available as a virtualized function based on its JunosV App Engine. The move, Juniper said, will allow mobile operators to more quickly manage network capacity on-the-fly, scaling it up or down based on demand. The new virtualized MCG appliance will be rolled into Juniper's Mobile Packet Core solution and was co-developed with Hitachi, Juniper said.

The virtualized MCG solution is shipping now, while the new Services Activation Director and Junos Space applications are slated for availability sometime during the first half of 2013.

At its partner conference, Juniper emphasized the importance of solution providers breaking into the SDN space and said it would be rolling out new software licensing and maintenance models to help partners make bigger margins on software integration.

"SDN is a major transformational shift that partners need to understand and be able to explain to their customers and cut through the confusion for their customers," Bob Muglia, Juniper's executive vice president, software systems, told CRN in an interview. "Understanding the software side of things is a very, very major aspect of how partners need to make investments in the way that they do business."